Showing posts with label 2008. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2008. Show all posts

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  • Sunday, January 5, 2020

Maycas del Limarí Reserva Especial Syrah 2008 (Chile) - Wine Review



For my first wine review of the year (and decade), I take you back more than a decade to this lovely 2008 Syrah from Chile that I opened . It was purchased from the VINTAGES Release, when it was billed as the benchmark for Chilean Syrah.

Viña Maycas del Limarí is part of the Concha y Toro portfolio of wine brands. Maycas, meaning "ariable lands" in Quechua, were the foundation of South America's most powerful civilization, the Inca Empire. Formerly Inca lands in northern Chile, the Limarí Valley opens into a wide river basin of mineral-rich soils that receive a constant, fresh breeze off the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, this bottle is long sold out. However, the latest vintage may be available through their Agent in Ontario, Escalade Wines & Spirits.

Maycas del Limarí Reserva Especial Syrah 2008 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

MAYCAS DEL LIMARÍ RESERVA ESPECIAL SYRAH 2008 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#269423) (XD) - $19.95
Gorgeous, open, and mature aromas are savoury and earthy at its core, mingling with stewed blackberry and plum, layered over peppery spice, meaty, and whiffs of floral. It's full-bodied and still quite dense and chewy on the palate, supported by juicy acidity. Earthy and savoury flavours, plus black pepper spice, clove, cocoa, dark berry, and hints of mint and dried herb. Smooth, finely-grained tannins have integrated very nicely with a slightly chalky textured character. A touch warming on the mid-palate, but still impeccably balanced. Interesting medicinal, minty, dark berry, spice, cocoa, and savoury mineral notes linger on the long-lasting, juicy finish. Should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Saturday, December 28, 2019

Nemeion Estate Réserve 2008 (Greece) - Wine Review

For wine review, I opened this lovely Agiorgitiko from Greece. I discovered this red wine at a Greek wine tasting event in May 2017 and found out that it was available for purchase at the Greece Destination Collection Store located on Danforth Avenue (in Toronto). On top of that, I found out that it was currently on promotion for under $17. On the after that tasting, I rushed over to The Danforth and picked up a bottle.

I would think this bottle would be long gone from shelves, however, I do see it listed on the LCBO website for $22. If you're in Greektown, you might want to pop-in to see if they have any bottles. Alternatively, you can reach out to the agent Intra Vino as they also have this delicious red wine from Greece listed on their website.

Nemeion Estate Réserve 2008 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

NEMEION ESTATE RÉSERVE 2008 - Nemea, Greece (#234624) (XD) - $16.90
Hand-harvested 100% Agiorgitiko grown on limestone soils with high copper content. It was aged for two years in French oak barrels, followed by another year in bottle prior to release. Fresh, medium-high intensity, dark fruited scented aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, and black currant mingle with limestone mineral, earth, and woody notes. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with stewed and slightly dried berry flavours plus fig, red cherry, smoke, savoury, earthy, and spice notes with a hint of florality. It's supported by succulent acids and refined, slightly chalky tannins that are still quite well structured. Earthy, mineral, dried cherry, and fig notes linger on the long finish, with excellent length. Should continue to drink well over the next 4-5 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Sunday, November 17, 2019

C.H. Berres Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2008 (Mosel) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Mosel Riesling Kabinett that I purchased from an LCBO VINTAGES Release in .

This white wine used to show up quite regularly in LCBO VINTAGES. In fact, I enjoyed the 2009 C.H. Berres Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett back in . However, this lovely white wine hasn't been in stores for a number of years now, so your best bet is to either visit the winery or pick up a bottle at the SAQ in Québec.

C.H. Berres Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2008 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

C.H. BERRES ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2008 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#207274) (MD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Wow. Gorgeous aromas of ripe apricot, peach, petrol, candied ginger, and beeswax jump out of the glass along with hints of wet stone mineral. It is medium+ bodied with a weighty mouthfeel to go along with medium-dry (i.e. notably sweet) flavours of apricot, peach, lemon citrus, orange, and wet stone notes that veer towards dry due to the still vibrant, racy acidity. Slatey notes linger on the chalky textured finish, with excellent length. Still has a few years of enjoyment ahead. Score: 91 pts


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

CVNE (Spain) Wine Tasting with Maria Larrea

On a fine , I had the pleasure of tasting a few wines from Spain's historic CVNE wine company with winemaker María Larrea at George Restaurant in downtown Toronto.

CVNE is actually an abbreviation of Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España, which translates to the Northern Spanish Wine Company. It was founded in 1879 by two brothers in the town of Haro in Rioja, in northern Spain, and has always focused on producing and aging wines. It now comprises of four wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino.

CVNE Wine Tasting with Winemaker María Larrea

Even though the company is officially called CVNE, the producer is more commonly known as Cune (pronounced COO-nay). It was interesting to learn from Maria that the origins of this name are due to a label misprint by the print shop they were using in the early days of the winery's history. The print shop accidentally replaced the "V" with a "U" and the name Cune became quite popular and continues be well-known. Personally, I have always known this producer as Cune.

CVNE garnered its first awards in 1885, and further successes led to the creation of the revolutionary Effel's cellar. The cellar was designed by the famous French architect, Aleixandre Gustave Eiffel, and uses steel trusses running from wall to wall (instead of columns) to support the roof, thus creating a large, open space for the management of the barrels. It was completed in 1909 and is still in use today by Imperial wines.

Imperial wines were first created in 1920 and are some of Spain's greatest wines. The name comes from a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called "Pinta Imperial" or "Imperial Pint". Viña Real wines were also launched at this time. In 1940, the El Carmen winemaking facility became the largest of its kind in Spain and showcased the benefits of using concrete in winemaking.

In 1973, Viñedos del Contino was established by CVNE and the family that owned the Contino vineyard, becoming the first single vineyard site in Rioja. Another first occurred in 1989 when they began using gravity during the fermentation process. In 2004, Viña Real winery was inaugurated by his majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, becoming one of the most advanced wineries in Spain.

Today, the company is still controlled by descendants of the founding family. Maria and I tasted through the three wines listed below and, while all three were enjoyable, we both thought the Imperial Reserva the best. I was also hoping to try the Monopole - Spain's oldest white wine brand that was first introduced in 1915, but unfortunately it was not available for tasting.

Of the three wines I did get to taste, the Crianza and Reserva came to LCBO VINTAGES in and are still available for purchase at the LCBO. Wines from CVNE's entire portfolio can be purchased through their licensed agent here in Ontario, Von Terra. Thank you, Von Terra, for the opportunity to meet Maria and taste these fine wines from CVNE.

Tasting Notes:

CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95
85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo. From a warm year, the medium-high intensity nose is all red berry and cherry with hints of strawberry and wood adding some complexity. It's light-to-medium bodied with medium-level tannins that are smooth and refined. Pretty aroma replays, plus vanilla and coconut flavours on the palate. Acids are very good. Dry, clean, and easy drinking with a finish length that is very good. Score: 88 pts

CVNE Cune Crianza 2015 (88 pts)CVNE Imperial Reserva 2014 (92 pts)

CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo and equal parts Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), and Grenache spent 18 months in (60%) French and (40%) American oak. Lovely, fairly intense nose offers very complex dark berry, black cherry, blackberry, and black plum aromas, with subtle oak, cinnamon, and spice complementing the dark fruits. The medium-full bodied palate is slightly warm, but the very good fruit concentration holds it all together. Very nice aroma replays are well-balanced on the juicy palate. Nicely balanced overall with smooth tannins and a very long, complex finish. Score: 92 pts

CVNE IMPERIAL GRAN RESERVA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (XD) - $69.95
Same blend as the Reserva, this is showing maturity on the nose with complex coffee, oak, tobacco, earthy, and savoury aromas, plus hints of blackberry and dark berry. The medium-full bodied palate has complex aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some dried herb notes. Continues to evolve in the glass. Medium tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Excellent finish length with tobacco and forest floor notes. Score: 91 pts

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 (91 pts)


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  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (Veneto) - Wine Review

red wine was purchased nearly 7 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release that featured wines from Veneto in its main theme. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONTE DEL FRÁ TENUTA LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2008 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#272500) (D) - $15.95
Blend of 80% Corvina Veronese and Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella from the terraced estate of Lena di Mezzo that is an hilly area with tufaceous, clay and limestone soils. Deep garnet colour with a brownish tinge on the edge. Generous aromas are very earthy and savoury in the glass with dirt, tree bark, and touches of dried cherry and floral. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with tobacco and spice flavours, plus some dried cherry/berry and floral notes. Fruit is starting to fade while tannins have softened but leave a chalky and drying mouthfeel. Acids are juicy. Earthy and stony mineral notes linger on the long finish. Quite nice for an 11-year-old Valpolicella. Drink now. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival 2017 - Day 2 of 2

Vineland Estates Bo-Teek Vineyard
Last , I visited Niagara twice over the course of the month to partake in the 66th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. You can read all about the activities here.

The fun-filled began at Vineland Estates Winery where we were given a guided tour of the property and facilities by David Hulley. The tour began on the patio over looking the prized Bo-Teek Vineyard with a gorgeous view of the Bench, and in the distance Lake Ontario, followed by a visit to the St. Urban Vineyard where some of Niagara's oldest Riesling vines (late '70's / early 80's) can be found. The winery is housed in picturesque structures that date back to the 1840's, including a former farmhouse, century barn, and a charming Carriage House. The tour concluded with a visit to the production facility, where I had the opportunity to get a closer look at their state-of-the-art optical sorting machine. This game changing machine accurately sorts up to 2,000 berries per second, separating lower quality grapes from the higher quality grapes. Vineland Estates is the only Canadian winery to have such technology.

Vineland Estates - New TanksVineland Estates - "Game Changer" Optical Sorting Machine

Beer and Cheddar Bisque paired with Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc

Following the tour, we headed downstairs to the tank room to enjoy their Discovery Pass Experience, which featured a Beer and Cheddar Bisque paired with their 2016 Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc (#594127, $14.95, 88 pts). The soup was made using Shawn & Ed's LagerShed Beer and Cow's Creamery 2-year-old Cheddar. It was creamy, if a touch sour, but offered nice balance when paired with the wine. A comfort pairing perfect for cooler months. After the food and wine pairing, we went to the tasting room to taste through some wines from their delicious portfolio. Wine reviews of some of these wines, plus others tasted on this day are provided below.

The second stop of the day was at Megalomaniac Winery. The wine pairing here was the 2016 Megalomaniac Selfie (#453506, $17.95, 86 pts), an easy-drinking, off-dry blend of Chardonnay Musqué, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling that paired very nicely with the small-proportioned Japanese-style buttermilk and panko-crusted chicken tenders, finished with a local freestone peach and ginger root glaze. The chicken tenders were very tasty, a little spicy, and when paired together with the off-dry white wine, the chicken tenders became even spicier and really enhanced the ginger flavours from the root glaze. A lively pairing that was really well done! Megalomaniac sits atop a hill, and relaxing on their outdoor patio while enjoying the view really enhanced the whole experience.

Megalomaniac Selfie paired with Japanese-Style Buttermilk and Panko-Crusted Chicken TendersPillitteri Estates Winery celebrating Canada 150 Potato Skins

Our third stop of the day was at Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where they were celebrating Canada's 150th birthday by offering potato skins topped with ingredients from every province and territory in our great nation. With 13 ingredients making up this potato skin, you can bet there were going to be many flavours vying for your attention. Some of the ingredients included potatoes from Prince Edward Island (obviously), cheese from the three other Atlantic provinces, honey from Ontario, juniper berries from British Columbia, and Ox tail from the Yukon. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of this food item, and the fact that Pillitteri was very busy on this day, they weren't able to customize my potato skin. This led to me trying only a couple of bites before discarding it. Two wines were offered with this pairing - a choice of either the Pillitteri Gewurztraminer Riesling Fusion (#349126, $13.95) or the Pillitteri Cabernet Merlot ($20). I opted for the heartier Cab Merlot, thinking that it should go well with the starchy and complex, loaded potato skin. The Discovery Pass Experience was a bit of downer here for me, but I did get to taste some really special Icewines afterwards, which made the visit to Pillitteri worthwhile.

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery with Jamaican Jerk Glaze ChickenCoyote’s Run Estate Winery Barrel Room

The fourth and final stop of the day was a very interesting one at Coyote’s Run Estate Winery. The culinary creation here was a farm-raised chicken, slow-cooked in a Jamaican jerk glaze and topped with Your Farm Gate’s fresh Ontario peach chutney, while served on a bed of basmati rice salad. Once again, two wines were offered - the 2016 Coyote's Run Lambert Vineyard Riesling ($19.95, 87 pts) and the 2015 Coyote's Run Estate Cabernet Franc ($24.95, 88 pts). However, here at Coyote's Run we were encouraged to try both wines with the food pairing to see how they fare. The Jerk chicken was mildly flavoured and not spicy, while the Riesling was bordering on off-dry, bringing out peach flavours from the chutney and wine. With the Cab Franc, the pairing became earthier and comforting, along with some of the jerk spice flavours becoming more prominent. While this pairing was quite interesting, our visit went to a whole other level after we met Assistant Winemaker Chris Protonentis. He was able to give us a quick tour of the facility before heading to the cellar for some barrel sampling of a few wines coming down the pipeline.

This was another fine day spent touring Niagara Wine Country during the annual Grape and Wine Festival. And just like on the first day, I was able to bring home recipes of some of the food items so we could try them at home. Get in touch with me if you would like a copy of any of the recipes.

Tasting Notes:

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION CHARDONNAY 2014 - Bo-Teek Vineyard, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#164459) (XD) - $25
The medium+ intensity aromas offer golden apple, pear, and butter notes with hints of hazelnut. It's medium-bodied on the somewhat creamy palate with balanced acids and nice aroma replays. The nutty finish has very good length. Score: 89 pts

Vineland Estates Elevation Chardonnay 2014 (89 pts)Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2008 (91 pts)

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2008 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (MD) - $30
The highly aromatic nose is showing some maturity, offering lemon citrus with whiffs of petrol and hints of minerality. It's medium-bodied and nicely textured on the palate with acids that are still quite lively. Off-dry flavour profile with lovely lemon/lime citrus, honeyed peach and floral flavours. Excellent finish length. Will easily age another 10 years. Score: 91 pts

VINELAND ESTATES CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
From a very good vintage, this has highly aromatic aromas of ripe blackberry, herbal, currant, cassis, mocha chocolate, and barnyard, all of which come through in appealing fashion on the medium+ bodied palate with smooth, refined tannins supported by very good, energetic acids. The smooth finish has excellent length. Score: 91+ pts

Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012 (91+ pts)Megalomaniac Bespoke Pinot Noir 2015 (90+ pts)

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $49.95
Highly aromatic on the nose with elegant candied cherry, floral, raspberry, baking spice, and hints of minerality aromas. Fine tannins are light on the light-bodied palate with pretty aroma replays plus some oak spice elements that are lifted by fresh, bright acids. There's some structure to the palate and it's very well balanced. Great tension between fruit and oak. The long finish is a touch bitter. Score: 90+ pts

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE MERLOT 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
The intense aromas reveal lovely forest red berry, dark cherry, mocha, forest floor aromas with hints of bay leaf and evergreen. On the medium-full bodied palate, this offers layers red and black forest fruits, chocolate, blackberry, cedar oak and some floral nuances. Medium-level tannins offer some structure and is balanced with fresh acids. Textured, classy, and long finishing. Age 3-4 years and drink to 2027. 91 pts

Megalomaniac Bespoke Merlot 2015 (91 pts)Megalomaniac Bespoke Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (91+ pts)

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
The medium-high intensity nose offers lush cassis, blackcurrant, and hints of olive, game and earthiness. The palate is full-bodied with smooth, silky, and structured tannins. It has very nice aroma replays, followed by an earthy mid-palate. Bright acids provide lift, and the finish is long and smooth. Drink or hold until 2027. Score: 91+ pts

PILLITTERI VIDAL RESERVE ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $65
Fragrant and open with peach, apricot, lychee, orange citrus, honey and marmalade aromas. The palate is medium+ bodied and lush with delicate acids providing balanced freshness to complement the sweet aroma replays. The long finish is accented with some oak spice. Score: 91 pts

Pillitteri Vidal Reserve Icewine 2013 (91 pts)Pillitteri Gewurztraminer Icewine 2000 (90 pts)

PILLITTERI GEWURZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2000 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $35
The medium-high intensity nose has a mature character, showing notes of molasses, burnt brown sugar, earth, and orange peel, in a slightly reductive style. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with smooth, silky, voluptuous and velvety mouthfeel with sweet, honeyed aroma replays. Palate still has some freshness. Excellent finish length. Such a treat to taste an Icewine at this age. Score: 90 pts

PILLITTERI CABERNET SAUVIGNON ICEWINE 2004 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $70
This has a medium-high intensity nose of dried cassis, dried red fruit and blackberry aromas. The palate is full bodied and sweet with raisiny, dried fig flavours lifted with very good acids, Long finishing with nice aroma replays. Score: 89 pts

Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2004 (89 pts)

COYOTE'S RUN ESTATE SYRAH 2015 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
From the red soil vineyard and matured for 18 months in an even split between Hungarian and French oak. The medium intensity nose seens closed, but offers complex glimpses of white pepper, meat, gamey, dark berry, earth, and savoury aromas. On the medium+ bodied palate, this offers crunchy tannins and very good acidity with balanced aroma replays that lean more towards fruit forward, with some savoury elements. The finish is long and clean. Very drinkable now, but I would age this for 2 years. Score: 89 pts

Coyote's Run Estate Syrah 2015 (89 pts)

COYOTE'S RUN ESTATE SYRAH 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Barrel sample. A mix of sweet and savoury bouquet with ripe dark berry, white pepper, sweet oak spice, and gamey notes. It's full-bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays. fresh acids, touch grippy tannins, and long finishing. Score: 89+ pts

COYOTE'S RUN RED PAW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#079228) (XD) - $35
Barrel sample. Aged on the lees. This has floral, cherry, and earth aromas and flavours. It's light-weighted on the palate with structured tannins that are a touch grippy. Clean acids and a balanced, long finish. Score: 89 pts

Barrel Sampling with Chris Protonentis

COYOTE'S RUN BLACK PAW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#116442) (XD) - $35
Barrel sample. This has a medium-high intensity nose featuring dark fruit, dark berry, tea leaf, and mineral aromas. It's light-to-medium bodied with more dark berry and dark fruit flavours lifted by fresh acids. It has grippy tannins and a long finish. Needs at least a couple of years to come together. Score: 90 pts


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  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Niagara Wine Tasting - Get Fresh in the Valley 2017

Redstone Limestone Riesling with Fried Shrimp Slider
On , I travelled to Niagara Wine Country to visit some wineries I had never been to before, as well as participate in some of Twenty Valley's Get Fresh in the Valley food & wine experiences.

The day began at Rosewood Estates Winery, an award-winning winery and meadery. And even though I had tasted the wines from this winery before, as well as driven by many, many times, this was my first ever on-site visit. Unfortunately, I missed taking the tour which would have included an opportunity to see the apiary (beeyard), tank cellar and barrel room. On the bright side, I did get to taste through some delicious wines and mead from their current portfolio - wine reviews of my favourites are provided below.

The next stop of the day was nearby in Beamsville at Redstone Winery. The property was formerly the Thomas and Vaughan Estate Winery and purchased by Moray Tawse (of his namesake in winery in Vineland, Ontario) in 2009. In June 2015, they opened up their beautiful hospitality centre, retail tasting room, and restaurant. The Get Fresh pairing here was their very delicious 2013 Redstone Limestone Riesling with a Fried Shrimp Slider with a Buttermilk Ranch & Iceberg Slaw. The brilliant acidity in the wine complemented the Fried Shrimp very well, while the Buttermilk Ranch sauce and sweetness in the wine balanced out the touch of heat from chili powder that was added to the batter. Overall, this was very well done. This was my first ever visit and I definitely want to come back for a dining experience as the restaurant menu looks delicious! In hindsight, I wish I had picked up a bottle of the Riesling (because it's THAT good!), but hopefully it will show up in VINTAGES this Summer.

GreenLane Cabernet with Lil' Lamb Slider
My third stop of the day was a short drive away along King Street at GreenLane Estate Winery for a Lil' Lamb Slider with Mint & Caper Mayo that was paired with their 2013 GreenLane Cabernet (60% Cabernet Franc & 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, $16.95, 87 pts). The green flavours coming from both the wine and mint dominated the flavour profile in this pairing, while the tannins in the Cabernet blend offered enough structure to balance the protein. This was a very well balanced and delicious Get Fresh pairing that I would be happy to enjoy again at home since I have the recipe.

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery was the fourth stop of the afternoon. Amazingly, in all my years of visiting Niagara, I had never been to Henry of Pelham - until this day. After tasting a few wines, I enjoyed a quick tour of Canada's largest underground barrel cellar room which houses more than 1500 barrels. The winery was founded in 1988, but the heritage of the property goes back to circa 1778 when it was deeded to the Speck Brothers great, great, great Grandfather, Nicholas Smith, and has been in the family ever since. In 1842, Nicholas' youngest son Henry - for which the winery is named - built an inn, tavern, and carriage house which now serves as the tasting room and wine boutique.

Henry of Pelham Barrel RoomHenry of Pelham Sparkling Wine Disgorging

Henry of Pelham Barrel RoomHenry of Pelham

As it was quite late in the day by the time everything wrapped up at the previous winery, the final few stops on Saturday were rather quick. I popped into Aure Wines (my first ever visit and now known as London Born Wine Co.) for a Get Fresh pairing of their delicious 2011 Aure Wild Ferment Pinot Noir and a Red Wine Cupcake Bite that was topped with Cherry Swirl Icing. The Pinot itself was quite nice, maturing well and paired nicely with the cupcake, bringing out sweet cherry flavours and baking spice notes from the wine. One wouldn't normally think of pairing Pinot with dessert, but this worked out quite well because each offered just a hint of sweetness. Aure Wines is known for their Marechal Foch and White Gamay, but unfortunately (for me) neither one was available for tasting as they were sold out. I'll have to make a point to visit again.

Aure Wild Ferment Pinot Noir wih Red Wine CupcakeFielding Rosé with Sweet Pepper Bruschetta

The next stop was at Fielding Estate Winery for a Get Fresh pairing of Sweet Pepper Bruschetta with Feta Cheese on a Focaccia, and paired with their 2016 Fielding Estate Rosé (#053421, $15.95, 86 pts). This was a very flavourful pairing with lots of interesting piquant, herbally, tart and sour flavours from the Bruschetta competing with somewhat sweet melon and herbally notes in the wine. I would call it a flavour explosion, but in a very pleasing and appealing way that still worked well together. If I get my hands on the recipe, I would definitely try this at home. If you plan to be in Niagara over the next few weeks, Fielding will be releasing the latest vintage of quite a few wines.

Angels Gate Pinot Noir with Spring Salad
My last stop of the day was at Angels Gate Winery, a winery I have known about for many years, but I recall this being my first ever visit to the site. The Get Fresh food & wine pairing here was a Spring Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, Candied Pecans and Strawberry Balsamic Dressing paired with their 2014 Angels Gate Pinot Noir (#308486, $17.95, 88+ pts). The strawberry salad was delicious and really brought out the strawberry flavours in the wine, while the creamy goat cheese helped balance the acids in the balsamic dressing and the wine, leading to a very enjoyable pairing overall. Since this was my last stop, I managed to squeeze in a few tastings from a list that featured many delicious wines that had some age on them.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to Niagara Wine Country this time around. It was especially nice to check out some wineries that I had never visited before. It was also really great that the wineries provided recipes of their food pairings - I can't wait to enjoy them at home. If anyone would like the recipe of the Fried Shrimp Slider or the Lamb Slider, please let me know and I'll send it to you.

Wine review of my favourite wines tasted at each winery are provided below. Most of these wines are only available at the winery. However, some might be available through the VINTAGES section at the LCBO.

Tasting Notes:

ROSEWOOD ESTATES ORIGIN MIMA'S BLOCK RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.95
Medium-high intensity aromatics offer nice petrol, orange citrus, lemon/lime and some green apple. Ripe lemon/lime flavours on the off-dry palate are balanced by tart and gentle acids. The finish length is very good. Coming to VINTAGES later this month. Score: 88 pts

Rosewood Estates Origin Mima's Block Riesling 2014 (88 pts)Rosewood Estates Origin Cabernet Franc 2014 (89 pts)

ROSEWOOD ESTATES ORIGIN CABERNET FRANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Highly intense aromas that are herbaceous with green pepper, black cherry, blackberry, toasty oak, and earthy barnyard notes. The palate is medium+ bodied with ripe fruited dark cherry, dark berry flavours, along with some bitterness. Acids are bright, while the tannins somewhat tight at the moment. The finish length is very good. Drinkable now, but should improve in 2-3 years as tannins integrate. Score: 89 pts

ROSEWOOD ESTATES MEAD ROYALE HONEY WINE 2015 - Ontario, Canada (#296178) (S) - $16.95
Barrel-aged for 6 months in French oak, this honey wine has a medium-intensity nose of honeysuckle, citrus and floral, all with honeyed overtones and much of the same on the chalky textured, light-to-medium bodied palate. Long, satisfying finish. It's sweet, but not as sweet as one might expect. Score: 88 pts

Rosewood Estates Mead Royale Honey Wine 2015 (88 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $38.95
This Chardonnay was barrel-fermented and aged for 12 months in French oak, 30% new, and offers ripe tropical fruits, golden apple and buttery aromas that continue onto the lush, medium-bodied palate. Nicely balanced overall, textured, and lifted by bright, refreshing acids. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $18.95
Lovely aromatics of medium-high intensity features a nice mineral, petrol, peach and candied orange citrus nose. The palate is medium-bodied with intense, sweet fruited citrusy aroma replays along with hints of lemon/lime and limestone minerality. Acids are bright and a touch sour. Nicely balanced overall and finishes with more minerally notes and excellent length. Sold out at the winery, but some still available in VINTAGES. Score: 90 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2013 (90 pts)Redstone Meritage 2012 (90 pts)

REDSTONE MERITAGE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $45.95
A blend of 60/20/20 blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this has medium-high intensity aromas notes of dark berry, toasty oak, black currant and cassis that should open up further with air. It's full-bodied with very nice aroma replays, structured tannins, and very good acidity adding freshness. Satisfying on the long finish with some bretty, barnyard, and earthy notes. Score: 90 pts

GREENLANE RIESLING 2014 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.95
A blend of estate fruit that's combined with their old vines, this has medium+ intensity aromas of peach, apricot, and orange citrus that continue on the off-dry palate with additional flavours of Flintstones vitamins. Tart acids provide freshness, while there's a hint of mineral texture on the palate. There's good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts

Greenlane Riesling 2014 (87 pts)Greenlane Dry Riesling 2013 (89 pts)

GREENLANE DRY RIESLING 2013 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
This bone dry Riesling has an austere, medium intensity nose with notes of honeysuckle and slate. The palate is medium+ bodied with mineral-driven flavours of lemon/lime, citrus and a hint of apricot. Fine chalky mineral texture, balanced acids and long finishing. Score: 89 pts

GREENLANE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Highly aromatic on the nose with appealing cassis, dark currant, black cherry, blackberry and floral aromas. It's full-bodied with smooth, velvety tannins and very nice aroma replays along with hints of earth and barnyard. There's some alcohol warmth, but good depth of fruit supports it well. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Will age 5-6 years, but highly enjoyable now. One of the favourite wines of the day! Score: 90+ pts

Greenlane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (90+ pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (MD) - $24.95
From vines planted in 1984, this has delicate, elegant, and fruit forward aromas of peach, apricot, orange citrus, and Flintstones vitamins. It's medium-dry on the palate with nice aroma replays, juicy acids, and medium-long finish with hints of mineral. Score: 89 pts

HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE BLANC DE BLANC 2012 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (XD) - $44.95
100% estate grown Chardonnay, partially barrel-fermented and then aged for 5 years in bottle before being disgorged, this has medium-high intensity aromas that are bready, nutty and lemony. On the palate, it's medium-full bodied with citrus and biscuity flavours, a hint of sweetness that's balanced by lively acids and bright mousse. The finish is long, clean, and dry with hints of mineral. Score: 91 pts

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blanc 2012 (91 pts)Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2014 (91 pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM RIESLING ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#430561) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Highly aromatic, gorgeous nose that's honeyed with apricot, sweet lemon, mango, and tropical fruit aromas. It is full-bodied with very nice aromas replays and supported by high acids adding freshness and texture, while also balancing the sweetness very well. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

AURE RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40?
Open, fine nose of red cherry, strawberry, truffle, earth and subtle oak spice with very good intensity. The palate is light-weighted with light tannins that gain texture and volume in the mouth, with lovely aroma replays and fine acidity. Nicely balanced with a bit of old and new world in this Pinot. Finish length is excellent. Score: 90 pts

FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#251439) (M) - $20.15
Ripe apple, citrus, and melon aromas of medium+ intensity. The medium-bodied palate is fleshy with tightly wound acids, medium sweet flavours that follow through from the aroma profile, plus some herbally hints. The finish length is very good. Will be better after 1-2 years of cellaring. Score: 89 pts

Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Angels Gate Archangel Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2009 (89 pts)

ANGELS GATE ARCHANGEL PINOT NOIR BRUT ROSÉ 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $28.95
Medium-high intensity aromas feature ripe cherry and strawberry compote notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has finely balanced mousse and pleasing aroma replays. Flavour profile is off-dry, but finishes on the dry side with some yeasty and bready notes, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW CHARDONNAY 2009 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
This mature Chardonnay spent 14 months in French oak and has medium-high intensity aromas that are nutty and buttery, with hints of vanilla on the nose. The palate is medium-full bodied with a somewhat creamy texture and very nice aroma replays joined by some apple notes. Well-balanced overall thanks to the very good acidity. Finish length is excellent. Score: 89 pts

Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay 2009 (89 pts)Angels Gate Mountainview Riesling 2008 (91 pts)

ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW RIESLING 2008 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $16.95
Lovely, highly aromatic nose is showing mature notes of mineral, petrol, lemon, and hints of white peach. The palate is medium-bodied with still bright and lemony acids. It has an off-dry flavour profile that's mineral-driven with lemony citrus notes. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts


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